“The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful,” Ryan said at a WisPolitics event in Milwaukee. “But you know what I thought of right away? I thought of my own family.
“My family like a whole lot of people came from Ireland on what they called coffin ships and came here and worked the railroads. The Irish were really looked down upon in those days,” Ryan said detailing how his ancestors emigrated from Ireland and ended up in Janesville, Wisconsin.
“I hear all these stories from my relatives about ‘Irish need not apply.’ [The Irish] could basically get constructions jobs, cops or firefighter jobs. And James and Catherine Ryan came over and literally worked the railroad until they had enough money to buy a farm, which happened to be outside of Janesville, Wisconsin.
“Then their son, my great-grandfather, started a railroad business with horse plows and it’s an earth moving business which to this day is run by my cousins. It is a beautiful story of America, and that is a great story.”
“That is a story we have today, that is a story we had yesterday. And that is what makes this country so exceptional and unique in the first place,” Ryan went on. “So I see this as something to celebrate and I think it’s a big part of our strength, whether you are coming from Haiti. We’ve got great friends from Africa in Janesville who are doctors, who are just incredible citizens.”
Ryan is the only GOP leader to criticize Trump's remarks.
Trump has denied that he made the vulgar comment, saying he simply used tough language to reflect his position that the United States should change its immigration policies, and that Haiti is a poor country.
But Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (D-Ill.), who attended the meeting, said Trump did make the "hateful" remarks. Two Republicans in attendance, Sens. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Grassley offers DACA fix tied to tough enforcement measures Five things senators should ask Tom Cotton if he’s nominated to lead the CIA MORE (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.), said they did not "recall" Trump making the remark.